Taking Amtrak trains to New York or Boston over the years I’ve watched the gradual inclusion of mobile in the ticketing process.
There was ticket purchasing via online and then through the quite functional Amtrak app.
By functional, of course, I mean it provides quite accurate train arrival times. Now I wish it could just make those trains not always late, but that’s another matter.
Inside the trains, mobile finally permeated all the ticket-taking personnel so that a quick scan from the device notifies the attendant that the ticket is legit. First they scanned paper tickets and then both phone codes and the codes on tickets, typically a lightning fast read.
Any frequent flyer has seen this in the airline industry as well, with the ticket taker being a computer reader.
The airline IT experts SITA calculate that 53% of airlines already have mobile boarding passes through apps and that number is expected to reach 91% by 2017, as noted in a recent Juniper Research report.
That same report is forecasting that more than 1.5 billion boarding passes will be delivered by mobile in four years, making it one in three of all boarding passes issued. That compares to about 745 million boarding passes via mobile this year.
But back to Amtrak.
The research found that metro and bus ticketing in almost every market is being driven by mobile phone use.
Places where there are recurring payments, such as on buses and trains, like during daily commutes, is where the sweet spot for mobile payments resides.
Once formed, those habits can more easily be transferred to mobile paying in a store.
Another transfer likely to occur is that many of those recurring mobile payments are likely to move to your wrist, as one additional function of wearable technology.